|WHY Do People Make BLIND Left Turns?|
For those of you that may be nervous that either of these posts represent a sudden Steve political diatribe, settle down. I think this is probably the last "this sounds political" post title - unless I think of another one.
Today, I was an active participant and not a mere observer of two motorists having a close call. Anyway, here was today's situation:
I was northbound on Forest Ridge in Bedford, just a little north of the Airport Freeway. Forest Ridge is a sweet four lane road that I sometimes ride on the trip home. It represents a quarter-mile detour that avoids a couple of traffic lights that get clogged up frequently on the afternoon commute. You see, I really don't like to filter past my motoring cousins, nor do I like to sit through multiple light cycles just to show solidarity most of them would neither understand nor appreciate, though they WOULD notice me holding them up when they had to repass me.
I was in the right lane, roughly in the center of a 12 foot lane, perhaps a smidge to avoid the rough area and oil. Up ahead, in the left lane, I observed two cars that were stopped in the left lane. To all appearances, the second guy was waiting for the front motorist to make a left turn into the credit union parking lot. Being observant, I also noticed a third motorist a bit further ahead. Hmm. My antennae tingled just a bit. As I closed, I moved RIGHT in my lane. My loyal reader should practice that a little - "MY lane." But I digress.
Moving right, I also prepared for braking or other evasive maneuver. Nothing definite other than stopped motorists ahead and knowing that the DANGER IS AHEAD. Then I saw the reason. A fourth motorist was waiting to pull out from the parking lot and the other three were trying to be "nice," not realizing that the parking lot motorist, making the "wacky left turn," would CREAM anyone coming up in the right lane.
In fact, I was more worried about this possibility than the average road user. You see, I was hit in just such a situation in Everett, Washington. Luckily I was not injured by the wacky left turner, though the Jaguar I was driving sustained several thousand dollars of damage. Even today, I'm AMAZED at how many motorists will attempt a totally BLIND left turn simply because someone waves them on.
To wrap up, moving RIGHT in my lane, though somewhat instinctive, was precisely the right action because it gave me a better view of what was going on with all those strangely behaving motorists AND it gave me an instant longer to react should a conflict really arise. Today, the wacky left turn was merely a threat. The sort of threat that helps me guard against commute complacency. Well, more or less. You see, cycling really IS fun and safe.